A tiger in the hills

Above Old Rookland (c) Sally Hutt

Above Old Rookland (c) Sally Hutt

Small heath butterflies (c) Duncan Hutt

Small heath butterflies (c) Duncan Hutt

As you travel up the Coquet past Rothbury the land suddenly changes at Alwinton from rolling productive countryside to steep-sided grassy hills split by deep V-shaped valleys. This sharp edge of hills can be followed from here to the north around the Cheviots. About 3km north-east from Alwinton along this hill edge is the tiny community of Biddlestone and it was from here we struck out on a walk to get two more hills for Sally’s ’50 hills challenge’.

The first top was Gills Law climbed across rough damp grassy land grazed with sheep and cattle. The song of skylark accompanied us on the walk and small heath butterflies flitted up from the path just in front of us.

Old Rookland (c) Duncan Hutt

Old Rookland (c) Duncan Hutt

Wood tiger (Parasemia plantaginis) (c) Duncan Hutt

Wood tiger (Parasemia plantaginis) (c) Duncan Hutt

We dropped from Gills Law down past the abandoned and ruined farmstead at Old Rookland, then down over Rookland Sike before climbing steeply up Silverton Hill. The northern face of this hill was swathed in a carpet of heather with bilberry and the occasional hard fern. It was here that a strikingly coloured wood tiger moth (Parasemia plantaginis) flew past, perching moments later in the vegetation. This is a slightly misnamed species preferring moorland, heathland and scattered trees rather than woodland.

Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) (c) Sally Hutt

Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) (c) Sally Hutt

From Silverton Hill it was an easy walk back to our start point near to the rather unusual Biddlestone Chapel. This former Roman Catholic chapel was built on the remains of an old pele tower and was once attached to a hall which has since been demolished.

Biddlestone Chapel (c) Duncan Hutt

Biddlestone Chapel (c) Duncan Hutt

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About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
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